Call it God. Call it grace. Call it dealing with your crap. Whatever you name it, It is Still a part of you along with everything else.
Recently I read a story from the Desert Fathers that I think can help anyone who is trying to escape thier past but haven't really ever been able to do so.
I have a trusted friend who has spent a considerable amount of time shedding the masks that she has worn for most of her life. To hear her speak of it, and the liberation that comes with it, is powerful and hope-filled. Another friend, in the same trusted circle, is just learning how to cope with the ghost of his past. And me, I'm still in the process of ending the old paradigms that I used to control me. But just one paradigm is taken down a new one pops up.
It's been a frustrating journey up until I began to see that I can no more escape my past as the Desert Fathers and Mothers escaped society by becoming ascetics out in the desert. They would come to understand, and then teach, that the world in which live and love in is not a place to escape who we are or what we are called to do. Instead it seems to be the opposite:
A brother was restless in the community and often moved to anger. So he said: “I will go and live somewhere by myself. And since I shall be able to talk or listen to no one, I shall be tranquil, and my passionate anger will cease.” He went out and lived alone in a cave. But one day he filled his jug with water and put it on the ground. It happened suddenly to fall over. He filled it again, and again it fell. And this happened a third time. And in a rage he snatched up the jug and broke it. Returning to his right mind, he knew that the demon of anger had mocked him, and he said: “Here am I by myself, and he has beaten me. I will return to the community. Wherever you live, you need effort and patience and above all God’s help.” And he rose up, and went back. (1)
I'm learning it's in this embrace that there is something else at work. A powerthat seems hidden or unseen until you realize you are no longer who you once were. You've been transformed into someone new.
Call it God. Call it grace. Call it dealing with your crap. What ever you name it, one thing remains true. It's a part of you like everything else. However, it's a gift or a new birth of sorts. One that welcomes you with Love, and loves you in our nakedness, accepts you unconditionally despite your brokenness, and empowers you to become what you were always intended for be.
A love maker, not an escape artists.
(1) Chadwick, Owen. Western Asceticism, ed., trans. (The Westminster Press: 1958), p. 92.